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Guide to International and Foreign Law Research

Foreign Law Electronic Resources

There are many electronic resources to help search for foreign law materials.  The best places to start are:

  • Foreign Law Guide:  This resource is arranged by country, and each entry includes an essay detailing the development of the country's legal system, a finding tool for the major sources of law, and topical subject headings listing the major pieces of legislation for each topic.  Helpful if you don't have a ciation or know where to look for a particular law.  Note that this is a subscription database, available if you are a student or faculty member, or if you are in the library.
  • GlobaLex:  Published by the Hauser Global Law School Program at NYU School of Law, GlobaLex is a free resource that includes research guides for every country by experts in the field.  Each entry will discuss the sources of law, the organization of the nation's government and the court system, and other important information.
  • World Legal Information Institute:  WorldLII, another free resource, catalogs web resources by both jurisdiction and topic, including hundreds of searchable databases.  Try clicking on "All Countries" on the left hand side of the screen, and then selecting the nation you want to research.  There are legislation and case law databases for many countries, but also try the links for subjects or legislation.  Also included are links to government and relevant ministry websites, which can help you find the law if the other methods haven't been successful.
  • Guide to Law Online: Nations of the World:  Run by the Library of Congress, Guide to Law Online is a free annotated guide to sources of information and law available online.  The emphasis is on sites offering full texts of laws, regulations, and court decisions.

A Note on Authenticity

Each of the above databases may send you out to a variety of online sources.  It is very important for students to evaluate the sources of law they are finding to ensure authenticity and currency.

Students should ask:

  • Who authored or published this site?  Is the source biased?
  • How current is the information?  When was it last updated?
  • Is the version of the source I found an authenticated, official version?